Steve Coogan: ‘Tony Wilson was a genuine maverick and pioneer’

The man who played him in '24 Hour Party People' pays tribute

Steve Coogan, who played Tony Wilson in the 2002 film ’24 Hour Party People’, has spoken about his love of the Factory Records legend.

The impresario passed away after suffering cancer of the kidneys, but hundreds of fans have contacted NME.COM to express their sadness and thank Wilson for his huge contribution to Manchester and Britain’s music, both through his record label and the influential nightclub The Hacienda, which he ran in the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaking about the legend at the time of the film’s release, Coogan declared: “I’ve got a kind of respect for Tony Wilson.

“He was a genuine maverick, a genuine pioneer, someone who wanted to do things differently. However, he’s a complicated person. There are moments of pretentiousness about him.

“Sometimes he appears to be ridiculous. But he’s also someone who was a genuine maverick, a genuine pioneer, someone who wanted to do things differently and was a visionary of sorts, and so I want to get that across too.

“At the end of the film, I want people to think that his pluses outweigh his minuses and it’s a better place for him having been around than had he not.”

Speaking about the time Wilson came on set to visit Coogan, the comedian recalled: “It was weird, it was very odd. I was dressed exactly the same as he was. We met in the corridor and he just looked at me and screamed and ran away.”

Wilson also had something to say about the dialogue of the film.

“He did say at some points he quoted what I say in the film rather than what he said in reality because he said I phrased it better…I quite liked that,” said Coogan.

You can read Tony Wilson’s obituary along with a host of tributes led by New Order and Alan McGee on NME.COM now.

From signing the likes of Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays, to being a general supporter of exciting and innovative music, Wilson established himself as a true indie hero.

Now NME.COM want your thoughts. Send your tributes, stories and photos to and we’ll publish them.

And see the NME Office Blog for our Tony Wilson comment and tribute, then leave a comment with your own.

Plus see next week’s NME – on UK newsstands from August 15 – for our special tribute issue to Tony Wilson.